The biophysical profile combines ultrasound with the nonstress test as an assessment of the physical health of the fetus. The ultrasound creates images of the fetus and the uterus. A nonstress test monitors the heartbeat of the fetus.

These tests are done late in pregnancy as the fetus matures. The following information is evaluated:

  • The amount of amniotic fluid (ultrasound)
  • Fetal breathing (ultrasound)
  • Fetal body movement (ultrasound)
  • Fetal muscle tone (ultrasound)
  • Fetal heart rate (nonstress test)

Each factor assessed in the biophysical profile is assigned a numerical score based on the findings. A total numerical score is determined. The score may be used by your doctor to determine if special care and certain adjustments are needed during your pregnancy and delivery.

Your doctor may recommend this test, as well as other tests, if you have a medical condition that could put you at risk for having problems with your pregnancy or there are problems with the fetus. Examples of conditions that could put you and your baby at risk include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Too much or too little amniotic fluid
  • Poor growth of fetus
  • Reduced fetal movements
  • Kidney disease
  • Heart disease
  • Post-term pregnancy
  • Multiple pregnancy (2 or more fetuses)